Sheriff Ed Gonzalez appears before Senate in ICE director confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON (KTRK) -- Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is another step closer to heading up Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security.

Gonzalez is appearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Thursday.

The panel, composed of 14 members, is the chief oversight committee for the Senate and has primary responsibility for the Department of Homeland Security.

Gonzalez, a lifelong Houstonian, was nominated for the role in April by Pres. Joe Biden.

He was re-elected for a second term as sheriff in 2020, but is presumed to be moving into the Biden administration to tackle his new role as ICE's new chief, depending on how proceedings in Washington go.

The Senate committee is also set to consider the nomination of Robert L. Santos to the post of U.S. Census Bureau director.

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WATCH: Ed Gonzalez' full opening remarks at ICE director confirmation

Gonzalez was first elected on Nov. 8, 2016 and then sworn in as the 30th sheriff of Harris County.

Harris County boasts the largest sheriff's office in the state of Texas, and the third-largest nationally. Gonzalez leads upwards of 5,000 employees to protect the county's 4.5 million residents.

Gonzalez began his law enforcement career as a civilian employee in the Houston Police Department, where he later became a police officer and rose to the rank of sergeant. He served on the elite hostage negotiation team and was assigned to the Homicide Division as an investigator.

WATCH: Harris Co. Judge Hidalgo 'thrilled' for Sheriff Gonzalez
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After serving 18 years with HPD, Gonzalez retired in 2009 to serve three terms on the Houston City Council representing District H.

He was elected by his peers in 2010 to serve as Vice Mayor Pro-Tem and was appointed Mayor Pro-Tem in 2012 by then-Mayor Annise Parker.

Gonzalez holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston-Downtown and a master's degree from the University of St. Thomas.

WATCH: Gonzalez chosen to move ICE in 'better direction,' Commissioner Garcia says
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